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Life as a carer - I want my own life now
54

Rosepetals34 · 24/11/2021 19:12

I’m 27 and single. My mum is in her 50s and got pregnant with my brother 8 years ago. Sadly, his father passed away when he was only a couple of weeks old, leaving just the 3 of us.
My mums health got progressively worse and she doesn’t have much mobility. I am her full time carer but not just for her, my brother too, since birth and we have a very close bond, I don’t work, I don’t have a relationship (I tried once but it failed) and quite honestly it’s getting too much. I love her and want to be there for her but I’m starting to resent it too. I’ve missed out on my 20s. I dropped out of uni after she got pregnant.
My brother has no one, no grandparents, and no one to provide for him beside me and my mum. I feel I owe it to him to be there for him. However, it’s a lifelong responsibility that I didn’t ask for but I love him dearly and wouldn’t change the fact he’s here.
He is now 8, if I stay around until he’s of potentially leaving age (say 18) I’ll be pushing 40! That scares me. I don’t know how I can have my life and also be there for him. It doesn’t seem possible but am I unreasonable for feeling what is now quite a lot of resentment?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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2020isnotbehaving · 24/11/2021 23:03

You can support your brother and your mum without having to be there 24/7. I’m disabled I have no one I have use care agency. Plenty of people do that’s just how it is. It’s not that awful that the only other option is your daughter spends her 20s and onwards doing everything instead. It’s not thing if you really want to but you have done 8y now time for you to come first.

It’s also important that your brother has a role model do you want him at 16/17/18 to feel like he has just be carer for his whole life? That his dreams are not important?

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MoreAloneTime · 25/11/2021 06:23

If your mum was in her right state of mind she wouldn't want this life for you.

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billy1966 · 25/11/2021 08:03

@MoreAloneTime

If your mum was in her right state of mind she wouldn't want this life for you.

This.

OP,
You have one precious life.

Do not sacrifice it for your mother's choices.

You will only have regret.

Giving up university is awful.

You need to harden your heart and put yourself first.

Time is ticking.
Flowers
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Twylar · 25/11/2021 08:31

This is great. You've taken the first step to acknowledge your own needs and a desire to prioritise them.

First on the agenda is to get your own property. Give your mum and brother a bit of notice with your intentions to move into your own place and start the process of getting carers in for your mum (unfortunate for her but if you're not there she will physically need carers. Do not start off by saying you will move out but still do all personal care/meals etc) And lots of reassurance that you will be visiting regularly.

Maybe you would like to commit to doing homework and dinner time with your brother on a set number of days a week as obviously education is important to support him with so he can live an independent life and it's a nice family routine to eat together?

Do you have a social worker that keeps in touch r.e. your mum and accessing support? This will be essential for support for all three of you. And the MS society is very good at supporting families with access to services aswell

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TinyTear · 25/11/2021 09:01

She can get carers but doesn’t want them and would prefer me

@Rosepetals34 this jumped at me.

FUCK THAT. She doesnt want them but she doesn't own you. I already don't get why you dropped out of Uni, but don't drop out of life.
Go back to Uni, do an OU course if you want to stay at home, but get on with your life

What sort of role model are you being to your brother being a doormat. show him the value of education

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Joystir59 · 25/11/2021 09:04

You need to refer your mum to adult social care for a care needs assessment. You need to explain in clear terms that you are not prepared to be sole carer for your mum she will have to accept carers coming in four times a day to provide the care she needs.

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GertrudePerkinsPaperyThing · 25/11/2021 09:05

She can get carers but doesn’t want them and would prefer me

^^
This is very selfish of her. She needs to allow carers in and you need to have some time for your own life.

Your brother will get more independent soon, and need less looking after, but she’s likely to need more rather than less. I’d focus on getting carers for her

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BloodyAlarms · 25/11/2021 09:05

Do this for yourself OP. You need a life of your own.

As someone with MS (who isn't 'difficult') I could never do this to my two adult children - thier life comes before mine.

Admittedly, I'm mostly functioning with MS and work full time but I can hand on heart say I wouldn't rely on my children. It's so so unfair.

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Dishwashersaurous · 25/11/2021 09:10

You need to put yourself first. You have done an absolutely amazing job but now you need to focus on you.

You need to contact social services and ask for an assessment for your mum and be really clear that you can no longer provide care.

Then you need to get a job, any job, and move out.

You can visit often, you can help but you cannot live there.

You can also contact the school and explain the situation.

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2020isnotbehaving · 25/11/2021 09:12

Plus your mum at 40 decided have another baby, she already had CP if not the MS. She would known need some extra help that was her choice. Going ahead then refusing use carers and landing all extra care on you?

Be proud you done all that you can your brother is much older now and not same as leaving a toddler with mum who can’t do much. What does your mum say if you comment about UNi or a job? If she’s going guilt you into caring (for rest her life?) then you are going have more of fight on your hands.

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Comedycook · 25/11/2021 09:14

This is so unfair on you Flowers. You need and deserve your own life.

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Mummyratbag · 25/11/2021 13:14

You have a right to a life and your mother's preference to have you look after her does not trump that right. You can still be her advocate and visit her as much as you like. She is denying you the choices to have a family/relationship that she herself had!

Please be careful though that your brother doesn't become a young carer if you move out. Make sure SS step up and give everyone the support they need.

It's not unkind or unreasonable to put your needs first

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YukoandHiro · 25/11/2021 13:19

Can you get your mum to go to some counselling with you - you absolutely need to start living your own life. When your brother is slightly older he won't need your help physically so much and you can support him emotionally while living apart. Could you aim to go back to uni when he's at secondary school? It would mean you could live away part time so then you can slowly disengage

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Undecided1985 · 25/11/2021 13:44

Its so hard when you fall on such difficult circumstances - and very hard for people to understand your situation. I can only agree with others - this cannot go on

some practical suggestions

  1. sorry mum i cant be your full time carer and look after my brother i know you dont want to bit we are going to have to accept outside help. I am damaging my own health and am overwhelmed bu everything and cant go on like this.

  2. encourage 8 year old brother to do the bits he can do - a bit of his own laundry, making his own breakfast/ sandwiches/ simple meals/ getting his own stuff ready for school.

  3. join a carers/ young carers group locally and online

  4. find a habit for you.

  5. go back to uni - or have a set plan for when you will do so.

    You need to get everyone in the household to do what they can - eg brother encouraged to be as independent as he can manage, your mother to accept help and for you to take care of yourself.

    Its hard being an older parent and hard being ill but you really need to find a different way.
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Undecided1985 · 25/11/2021 13:44

that should have been find a hobby for you.

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tallduckandhandsome · 25/11/2021 13:51

Your mum is being selfish, she is effectively denying you your own life just because she doesn’t want an external carer.

My mum is 70 and she pays for care because she doesn’t want her children to give up careers etc.

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hiredandsqueak · 25/11/2021 14:06

My sister has MS and three children. She has encouraged each one to leave home as they hit eighteen because she is becoming much worse as time goes on and she knew if they were at home then Social Care would have expectations that they provided care.
She has an adapted bungalow and carers four times a day. Her children live close by and visit most days and they do help her out so one of them cleans weekly and the other two do shopping and cook meals and take them round.The difference is that they don't have to because the carers' input keeps her ticking over they do it because they want to and it is easier for them all that way.
You should speak to your Mum and contact social care whilst ever you are there the care will undoubtedly fall on you so it's time to start making plans for your own future. You can still be fully involved but overseeing things and doing the bits you want and continuing to spend time with your brother but you too need a life of your own.

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Beautiful3 · 25/11/2021 14:25

You really ought to contact social services and ask for an assessment. They can provide more support. I really do think that you ought to move out. Your mum can get support but won't accept it, with you around. They may even fund taxis to and from school for him, if it's getting too much for your mum. A boarding school may be another option, or even temporary Foster care. You are not his nor her parent. You need to go and live your life.

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Fairylights25 · 25/11/2021 15:03

You only have just one precious life, and it is literally evaporating on a daily basis being an unpaid carer to your mother and brother.

It IS time for carers, and do not be swayed. Your mother needs to step up and organise some childcare for your brother, and you deserve to go and live your life op, whilst you are still young enough to make the most of it. Do not leave it any longer.

Tell her now, and be clear, you are not doing it anymore. She has to the new year to organise care and childcare. Book a holiday or a trip on the 1st of January and leave them to it. Yes she will be cross and resentful, but it won't last, and you can still visit and spend time with your brother, but as a visitor not as a carer. Your mother has been incredibly selfish, so selfish to take your life away as she has. I would be heartbroken if my dds did this to me. Go and get the life of YOUR dreams op and don't look back - you have already done more than enough.

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SavageTomato · 25/11/2021 15:35

You've done so much already, yes it is time to change this set up. You must be resolute about claiming your own life. As someone who's done 30+ years of caring for a parent, while also living my own life, here's something to think about: you're in a kind of parental role already, for both your mum and brother. So act like it, take charge of arrangements. Don't ask permission, just do it and ask forgiveness later, or don't. I never did, when my parent got very sick almost a decade ago, I hammered on the door of social services to help us sort out more suitable housing and regular carers. I didn't ask for permission, I just made it happen. It worked fine, the physical and practical things were done by other people, meaning I could visit and have a laugh, be a daughter instead of a carer, we could enjoy things instead of me constantly cleaning, shopping, etc etc etfuckingcetera. Sounds like your mum won't give permission for any changes, well tough shit, frankly. Give YOURSELF permission to change how this is going, or if it helps, I hereby give you full permission to go out and live your life instead of being an unpaid and unfulfilled young woman. I wish you all the best, it's your time now. She made choices you had no say in, now it's your turn to make some choices and I don't think you'll fully turn your back, so actually it's still a good outcome for her and your brother, whatever she may think.

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gogohm · 25/11/2021 16:03

Very tough op but you need to start your own life.

At 8 your brother is more independent so you don't need to provide as much hands on care for him. Your mum needs to accept carers.

My suggestion is return to university/college locally, part time of preferred to get yourself into the best position to start working once your brother is at secondary school. Carers orgs can advise on discretionary payments, respite etc but it does exist, you have to demand it though.

Your mother's illness is very sad and of course you want to support them but you need to ensure have a life, it's possible to balance this, get support

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gogohm · 25/11/2021 16:06

I would also suggest looking into state boarding or scholarships for kids in his situation, weekly boarding combined with paid carers would give you and him a break from being carers

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Rosepetals34 · 25/11/2021 18:30

Thank you for all of the responses. I didn’t expect to get so many. I see that basically all of them say pretty much the same things so that makes me feel far less alone in feeling guilt or like I’m betraying anyone. It’s got to the point where I don’t know to put myself first. I know only caring for others, even when I know they are being unreasonable. I worry that it will affect my confidence in relationships in the future as well. As I said before, i did have some support but I got “too old” after I got to 25 and the situation remained the same.

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2020isnotbehaving · 25/11/2021 18:42

It’s perfectly normal feel nervous about taking first steps especially when you don’t yet have a plan. It would be easier if you had a partner and planned get married or have baby and move in together that more of a “good move”. Your mum would be hard pressed to say no you can’t do any of that. It’s harder to “just” want move out have own space and life but not in any way less important.

You do need contact your SW or SS they need to know things will be changing and get the ball rolling their end. Although I guess you need a job for while first to save up to be able move out. Do you have any idea what sort job you like do or would you like go Uni next year instead?

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Puzzledandpissedoff · 25/11/2021 18:52

It’s got to the point where I don’t know to put myself first

Unfortunately I expect that suits your parent quite well, because it makes you easier to manipulate

Unfortunate, too, that you left Uni when she got pregnant; it set a precedent as to just what you'll be willing to give up, and will have enabled her "preferring you" to professional carers

I suspect you know that there isn't really an answer to this except to get tough and tell her she's got no choice but to accept carers if she wants to be cared for at all. It won't be easy and you'll probably get hysterics, but can it really be harder than giving up most of your life?
Because any change will have to come from you, and this is what you're looking at otherwise

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